Monk Parakeet Munching on Young Apples

We had two parrots visit while I was gardening this afternoon. They were, of course, in our neighbor's apple tree.

Myiopsitta monachus, Monk Parakeets, also known as Quaker Parrots, have established numerous colonies in Brooklyn. They are Brooklyn's most charismatic potentially invasive species. They have expanded to other parts of the city and New York State. They are also now established in at least a dozen other states.

Monk Parakeet Munching on Young Apples

I only got good shots of this one of the pair. The other stayed in the foliage and was difficult to see. Here's a view of both of them.

Two Parrots in Apple Tree

Unlike last year, when I saw the first parrot in June, I've been seeing parrots in the neighborhood this year for at least two months. I just haven't seen them in my backyard this year until today.

The complete set of photos is available in a Flickr set.

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SB Gypsy said...

We had a parrot get loose when I lived in LA. After that, we noticed that a large flock was flying over every day or so, and the squawking was suspiciously similar to what our pet usta make. I heard that NY had parrots that nested around electric transformers for the heat. I also read an article that they were being evicted. I thought they would die off without the warm nesting places.

Xris said...

Some parrots' nests in and around transformers have caused electrical failures. Those nests are of greatest concern, because of the damage they can call.

The key factor for this species winter survival is that they build their own nests, the only species of parrot to do so. Other parrot species nest in cavities. Also, this species is originally from a temperate, mountainous area, not a tropical one. They're well-adapted to our climate here.

Larry said...

Several years ago I was visiting friends in Chicago and was surprised to see squawking flocks of Quaker Parrots flying through a lakefront park, as well as massive communal nests up in trees.

I had one of these parrots as a pet for a few years but he ended up being eaten by a raccoon.

Ki said...

Great photo of the parrot. I've read that there were parrots in the city but haven't seen photos of them. They really exist.

Anonymous said...

I was shocked to count ten, yes you read that correctly, ten parrots in East Elmhurst Queens of NYC. They were loud and boisterous! Truly Amazing. I then discovered their two nests! Simply awesome.

chamaedaphne said...

Do you know if they are in fact invasive? Here in San Francisco we have two species of parrots, cherry-headed conures and another kind (can't remember what type). It's been found that they are not invasive, their numbers are stable, and they live pretty peacefully with the native birds.

Xris (Flatbush Gardener) said...

In this post I characterize them as potentially invasive. They have established themselves in the wild, and they continue to increase their range.

I guess it depends on your definition of "invasive." Baldwin, who runs the Brooklyn Parrots Web site, takes umbrage at the term "invasive." But I feel that their pattern of distribution objectively warrants use of the term, despite any affection we might hold for the animals themselves.

chamaedaphne said...

I guess when I think of invasive I think of Starlings, for example, who have been so destructive with respect to other bird species. I think the same way with respect to invasive plant species. There are non-natives that just live their lives, and others that destroy all before them and take over.
I think here in SF the birds have found their niche and haven't abused it. There's even a movie about them--The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill.